6 July 2012 | phillindholm
Misleading Advertising-Decent Movie.
Although American International Pictures (the drive-in specialists who put the ''ex'' in ''Exploitation) promoted this film in their usual, lurid way, (''They Run In Packs, And What They Do Makes Headlines!'') , it's actually a good, if simplistic look at White vs. Mexicans in a California High School. Tom Nardini (''Cat Ballou'') is the new Latino kid on the block who tries, peacefully, to combat the prejudice faced by the Mexican students, from both the white kids as well as some of the faculty. When he becomes involved with a sympathetic ''Gringo'' girl, (Patty McCormack), her bigoted ex-boyfriend (David Macklin) and his gang vow revenge. And revenge he gets, in some pretty tense scenes which are uncomfortable to watch, even today. As a hot-headed student at odds with Nardini's approach to their problems, Zooey Hall is impressive. His girlfriend is played by the lovely Joanna Frank (''The Savage Seven'') and though her part is relatively small, she is just as effective. In fact, all of the acting is convincing here,( including an early appearance by a young A Martinez) and if the resolution seems a bit far-fetched, the film's heart is in the right place. At the last minute, the title was switched to ''Born Wild'', which really doesn't do it justice either, but, under any name, it's a good example of a ''Teen Flick'' with an actual message, something most were lacking. The photography, by Ken Peach is excellent, belying the film's low budget. The editing is jumpy in places, but nothing seems to have been removed which would spoil the continuity. (It's noticeable mostly in the abbreviated performances of the two rock bands ''The American Revolution'' and ''Orphan Egg'', both of whom were under contract to AIP at the time). Good Les Baxter score, too. It's worth seeing at least once.